It’s likely that those who attended the NIGA Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention, which was held in April in San Diego, Calif., walked away from the event with a greater understanding of Indian gaming and the vital role it plays in fostering tribal sovereignty and much needed social programs.
Chances are they also came away with insight to the latest casino games, thanks to a very large and active tradeshow floor that featured vendors from across North America and around the world. What follows is a recap of some of the slots and table games that were showcased at various manufacturer booths and gained notice from the editors of Casino Journal.
The AGS booth at NIGA focused on recent product introductions from the company’s three main product lines—slot machines, table games and interactive gaming.
Headlining AGS’s slot products segment was the Orion premium slot cabinet. From its 42-inch LCD HD touchscreen portrait monitor to the stunning full-color LED lights that encircle it, Orion is fueled by a dynamic library of high-performing game content including Fu Nan Fu Nu, River Dragons and Fire Wolf II, according to a company press release.
“We are rolling out Orion to be the complimentary premium cabinet product in our slot line,” said Andrew Burke, vice president of slot systems at AGS.
Also on display was the company’s core cabinet, ICON, showcasing an assortment of new games including three new high-limit titles developed by the creators of Colossal Diamonds on the Big Red slot cabinet—Premier Diamonds, French Quarter 7’s and Super 10X Wild Gambler.
On the table games side, AGS showed its latest baccarat offering, Dai Bacc, which features three bonus bets with the possibility to hit at least 30-1 odds on every round. The game’s distinctive bonus bets offer a very high payout potential with the introduction of The Kill Bet, which means players have an added advantage of winning even if the other two side bets lose.
“Dai Bacc is proving very popular for us right now, with California casinos leading the charge,” said John Hemberger, vice president of table games for AGS.
AGS also demonstrated its single-deck card shuffler, Dex S, designed for poker tables and hand-pitched or hand-dealt table games, as well as its exclusive Bonus Spin brand table game progressive technology.
Finally, leading the interactive segment, AGS debuted its new social casino product designed for gaming operators, Social WLC. This solution is a turn-key, free-to-play mobile app platform that blends a casino’s brand with AGS’ player-favorite games into an interactive casino experience players can take anywhere.
Ainsworth Game Technology
The PAC-MAN WILD EDITION slot game was the featured product at the Ainsworth booth, which also showcased 60 game titles for both Class II and Class III marketplaces.
The iconic PAC-MAN character is one of the most recognizable figures in arcade game history and was the basis for the most successful arcade game of all time. Now, according to Ainsworth press materials, PAC-MAN will arrive on casino floors this summer when he stars in PAC-MAN WILD EDITION on the new A640 Ainsworth cabinet. The title provides all the recognizable PAC-MAN sounds and imagery loved by people across the globe. PAC-MAN WILD EDITION is the first offering as part of a strategic partnership between Ainsworth and BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.
Ainsworth launched its entrance into the Class II market last year at NIGA and has seen success across the country. This year it showcased its eye-catching A600 cabinet for Class II for the first time at the show, including several new titles that have had strong performance in Class III markets. Titles shown on the A600 included Twice the Diamonds, Cash Cave, Mustang Fortune, Light ‘Em Up and other games proven to perform on U.S. casino floors.
Aristocrat Technologies and VGT
The Aristocrat booth buzzed thanks in part to the recently introduced RELM cabinet, a stepper slot the company developed with the help of its VGT subsidiary.
Built from the ground up specifically for traditional stepper players, the RELM cabinet perfectly blends VGT’s exceptional stepper technology with Aristocrat’s renowned content expertise to create a new player experience. The Class III RELM cabinet featured eight new titles: The Golden Tree, Sun Gold Temple, Cash 7, Burning 7, Double White Hot Gold, Emeralds & Sapphires, Double Gold Spin and Triple Wildfire Double.
Meanwhile VGT, which was in the same booth, showed its new Class II video slot product, the Ovation platform. Like the RELM cabinet, the Ovation platform showcases the joint development efforts between Aristocrat and VGT. The Ovation platform brings a new line of video content, giving Class II and Class III customers more options by combining Aristocrat’s studio resources with VGT’s player-favorite bingo-based game play.
“At Aristocrat and VGT, we have combined our efforts with a single mission—to provide our customers with a deep and broad portfolio that will entertain their guests with whatever type of gaming experience their players want, whether our customers operate Class II games, Class III games, or both,” said Matt Wilson, director of the Americas for Aristocrat.
Eclipse used NIGA as a backdrop for its expanded product portfolio, including premium new themes showcased on the company’s newest game cabinet, Saros.
According to a company press release, the stunning new Saros cabinet, with sophisticated curves, is loaded with design features that enhance player comfort and experience. Game controlled emotive lighting surrounding the monitors, video topper and 15-inch dynamic touchscreen button deck, along with brilliant lighting running the full length of the cabinet, creates maximum impact and draws players to the game. High-speed processing and powerful new graphic capabilities presented on eye-catching dual 27-inch widescreen full HD displays, along with enriched audio, takes the player to new dimensions in gaming.
Everi put its booth space on the tradeshow to good use—using its TournEvent system to host a charity slot tournament for the benefit of the Spirit of Sovereignty, the charitable arm of NIGA.
Of course, the company also found space to display its latest game products at the booth. Casablanca, the five-reel Class II WAP video game, was featured on the Empire MPX premium participation cabinet which offers a 43-inch full HD display, game-controlled lighting with backlight feature, a new ergonomic LCD button deck, a mobile device recharge dock with two USB ports, two overhead spotlight features and a custom licensed merchandising package with overhead sign. Other licensed brands at NIGA 2017 included two additional video titles for the premium linked progressive High Rise product line: Fruit Ninja Juicy Jackpots and Richie Rich.
Also prominent was Jackpot Lockdown, Everi’s recently launched WAP link exclusively for Class II markets.
The aforementioned TournEvent solution also showcased new features, including a fully skill-based, tournament-only version of Fruit Ninja.
Gamblit came to NIGA armed with new products and an important announcement—the launch of its skill-based games at Caesars Entertainment’s Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
This initial field trail consists of Gamblit’s highly social and interactive game table, called the Model G, which can host between two and four players for a head-to-head gaming experience. Each gaming terminal offers a unique, multi-player/multi-game machine with access to a shared 42-inch touch screen, plus a USB charging port, purse hook and two cup holders for each player.
The three game tables located at Planet Hollywood initially featured two games at launch, Gamblit Poker and Cannonbeard’s Treasure.
Pending final regulatory approval, additional Gamblit games will be installed at various Caesars Entertainment properties throughout much of Nevada including Caesars Palace, The LINQ Hotel & Casino and Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. Harrah’s Resort Southern California will be the first to debut the skill-based gaming tables in the state California.
As per usual, International Game Technology PLC (IGT) displayed a diverse portfolio of game content at NIGA. Highlights from the company’s premium slot offerings included the award-winning SPHINX 4D game on the CrystalCurve TRUE 4D cabinet, which offers a multi-sensory experience that enhances its glasses-free 3D technology. The Voice Video Slots on the CrystalCurve ULTRA cabinet delivers an immersive player experience and features popular songs and video footage from the worldwide TV hit series and bank-wide win celebrations. The Fort Knox Diamond Vault Video Slots Fort Knox Cleopatra Video Slots, and Harley-Davidson Video Slots games were also available on the CrystalCurve cabinet.
On the core side of its offerings, IGT showcased its CrystalCurve cabinet with exclusive themes such as the Dreams of Egypt, Star Rise, Wild Fury and Dream Pool games. NIGA was the first tradeshow where IGT showcased the CrystalCurve cabinet with for-sale game content. A variety of themes for the high-limit S3000 cabinet were demonstrated, such as the Double Diamond Pinball and Lucky Rapid Pays games, in addition to the highly anticipated, commemorative Double Diamond Silver Anniversary game.
Luxury gaming manufacturer and electronic table game (ETG) producer Interblock exhibited its Diamond, MiniStar and StarBar product lines at NIGA.
Diamond Video Blackjack featured all-new virtual dealer graphics and side bet content. The multi-game StarBar, a play station designed for the bar top, allows players to interact with up to four games simultaneously. The MiniStar product line offers automated roulette and other table games in a small footprint to accommodate any casino floor.
“Many of our automated table games can be customized to meet the regulations of Class II gaming environments,” said John Connelly, global CEO for Interblock.
Konami focused on its Concerto Collection of video slots at NIGA. Front and center was Konami’s new Castlevania-themed video slots, which featured a captivating display across Concerto Crescent’s curved cinematic game screen, Konami brought the adventure and valor of this classic video game to casinos with two premium debut themes, each featuring iconic heroes from the series as they venture through exciting new quests with fun slot play experiences.
“Castlevania is an attempt to capture the feeling of the classic video game that people played in the 1980s,” said Steve Walther, senior director, marketing and product management for Konami. “It’s a fun slot to play with a lot of triggered events.”
Also featured on Concerto cabinets where Cai Lai Si Ji and Smash Smash Festival. Cai Lai Si Ji showcases a four-level standalone progressive bonus combined with a unique collection of custom base games including Wealth of Dynasty, Winning Animals and Power of Riches—each with brilliant Asian-style art elements. Bursting with fun fiesta flare and colorful celebration, Smash Smash Festival is Konami’s first original KP3+ linked jackpot bonus.
Outside of the Concerto family, Konami displayed its latest Frogger iteration—Frogger Universal Treasure—on a tall-top Podium Monument cabinet.
At NIGA, Scientific Games demonstrated new and exciting solutions to empower player engagement.
From its games portfolio, Scientific Games displayed entertaining new game titles on a variety of its leading slot platforms, demonstrating the breadth of its library for all types of players and every size of casino. The entire TwinStar family of innovative and industry-leading cabinets, along with an array of game content, was shown, including the newest additions—the TwinStar J43 with a unique, J-curved portrait monitor and the new mechanical-reel TwinStar 3RM.
Scientific Games’ player-favorite licensed branded content took center stage in the company’s slot exhibit, featuring THE GODFATHER, NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION, THE SIMPSONS, SPIDER-MAN, TETRIS and WILLY WONKA.
Scientific Games, a leader in proprietary table games, shufflers, chip sorters and other utility products, also displayed exciting innovations at NIGA including ZAPPIT Blackjack with Blazing 7’s Blackjack Progressive; Power Suit Poker; and ShuffleStar, a groundbreaking, low-profile front-loading shuffler.
A chair to remember….
It’s hard to enjoy a slot machine or table game experience without a comfortable chair. Long-time seating vendor Gary Platt Manufacturing is aware of this, and came to this year’s NIGA event with chair products designed with ergonomics and style in mind.